Archive for Nature

Fog Bewilders

Joseph Massey lives in the beautifully foggy Humboldt County (California) and it is this exquisite place that has inspired this collection of wonderful poems entitled Areas of Fog (Shearsman Books, 2009). Here is one that I am particularly fond of.

Arcata Marsh
by Joseph Massey

Mudscape—tide’s out—
out as far as fog gives sight.

lichen latched to limbs

I thought were your

your face turned
back by wind.

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A New Twist on Bio-Diversity by Christoph Niemann

I recently came across this article in the New York Times — a creative approach to bio-diversity as mastered by award winning graphic artist, Christoph Niemann. This is testimony that creativity in innovative design is alive and thriving. Here are some of my favorites. Click on the article link to see the rest. Enjoy!

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Organic Pesticides for Home and School that Double as Aromatherapy

Organic Pesticides for Home and School that Double as Aromatherapy

If you haven’t heard by now or are not aware of the fact that pesticides are toxic, you are either living under a rock or in outer space. Although hibernating at times is essential wherever that place may be, when you do surface you probably aren’t spending too much time thinking about pesticides as you travel throughout your day. After all, we do live in a country (United States) that is suppose to protect us from any harmful effects that we might experience due to pesticide exposure. 2009-07-12-kids-playing-in-overgrown-grass-17Well, unfortunately the EPA is doing a lousy job at setting and enforcing regulation that serves our society’s best interest. What is most disturbing is that there are no mandates only recommendations, that protect school children, a segment of our population that is most vulnerable to environmental toxins.

Based on research information provided by the non-profits: Beyond Pesticides and Healthy Child Healthy World, EcoSMART – a leader in organic pest control products concluded that “Pesticide exposure can adversely affect a child’s neurological, respiratory, immune, and endocrine systems, and have been shown to cause or exacerbate asthma symptoms. Studies show that children living in households where pesticides are used suffer elevated rates of asthma, leukemia, brain cancer, and soft tissue sarcoma. Because most of the symptoms of pesticide exposure, from respiratory distress to difficulty in concentration, are common in school children and may also have other causes, pesticide-related illnesses often go unrecognized and unreported.”images

This link will direct you to a chart breaking down each chemical found in pesticides and what part of the body it affects the most: health-enviro-print

Beyond Pesicides also reported that: “A 2005 study published in the Journal of American Medical Association finds that students and school employees are being poisoned by pesticide use at schools and from drift off of neighboring farmlands; the study authors noted the lack of protection for school children and employees under federal law, pointing out that state laws provide some protection but are varied, thus leaving large gaps.” Another disturbing point is that The Poison Control Center has documented 2,300 school pesticide exposures from 1993-96. That was over ten years ago.

The good thing is is that you do have choices and you can make a difference. safe_home_bundleEcoSmart maker of a line of organic pest control products both for home and commercial use is an excellent option when choosing an alternative. These products are not only safe to use but also smell incredibly delightful so much so that they block out any foul odor lingering about. They wreak of winter-mint and other natural scents that have pleasing effects. Can you recall any bug spray that you could actually hang out in a room with immediately after using?

The most important thing is that they work incredibly well. My ants are gone and have stayed away for weeks. My flies have flown away and haven’t come back and my family including my pets aren’t pissed off at me. My potted outdoor plants are also thanking me as the fungus has gone and they are thriving.

The other thing that I am doing is addressing this issue with my school board in hopes that they will make the switch to only using organic pesticides. My advice is to take action. Go to your school district and express your voice or if you don’t have kids, buy products for your home and garden that are natural and organic. Chances are there are children living near by.

Stay Healthy, Live Green
Julie Gengo

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Flowers – Photography by Dan Smolen

It is hard to put into words how much I truly enjoy flowers. I could get lost in gardens as the energy of color captures my entire being. I often read an environmental lifestyle blog called Sturdy Roots and I came across these wonderful photos of nature’s finest. The beauty of spring and summer creatively preserved by photographer and writer Dan Smolen










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Environmental Groups Ban Together to Secure Wilderness in California

Environmental Groups Ban Together to Secure Wilderness in California
By Julie Gengo

After our recent trip to Mt. Baldy (located in the scenic San Gabriels Mountains that surround Los Angeles County) with The California Wild Heritage groups and their members I decided to fill you in on what it means to be Wild. By the way, these photos were taken along our hikes.

Butterfly Love

Butterfly Love

The California Wild Heritage Campaign is a coalition with one goal – to preserve California’s unprotected wilderness and wild rivers for future generations.” The Wild Heritage Campaign is a California-based wilderness protection organization that was started by a group of passionate citizens in 2000 after they spent three years putting together a list of potential wilderness areas including wild and scenic rivers. They found 7.5 million acres of unprotected public land and about 4,000 miles of wild and scenic rivers. Guided by its mission is to “ensure the permanent protection of California’s remaining wild public lands and rivers,” Wild Heritage coalition has grown to include a few hundred support groups including environmental groups, outdoor industry and organizations, businesses, faith groups and more.

Tree Talk

Tree Talk

Recently The California Wild Heritage coalition celebrated the passage of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (H.R. 146), protecting over 700,000 acres of California wild lands and rivers. This monumental bill is the fourth largest designation of wilderness in California since the Wilderness Act was established in 1964.

When an area is declared Wilderness, it is protected from development, mining, drilling, timber harvest, new grazing and closed to motorized and mechanized vehicles. We like this. In fact we love this and if we don’t rally for designated wilderness, you can only imagine what big business will do to it.

Flowing Mt. Baldy

Flowing Mt. Baldy

The process of establishing wilderness can be complex and take many, many years to achieve. According to, the process starts with wonderful people like you and me who are members of advocacy groups (but that is not a requirement) along with state or federal land management agencies. We then recommend which areas need this status by submitting reports, statistics and other stuff that will convince Congress to grant these areas this protection status. Yes, it takes an act of Congress to designate an area as Wilderness and we all know that that can sometimes take forever. The President ultimately has the final say as he signs the bill into law.

Here is a simplified chart:

How Wildnerness becomes Wilderness

How Wildnerness becomes Wilderness

In essence you can make a difference. Your support of groups like The Wilderness Society, The Sierra Club or Friends of the River for example can help preserve our beautiful open spaces that are filled with intrigue, vibrant energy and amazing graces. After all, keeping Wilderness around forever just as it is, is a nice thing in itself.

Searching for Secrets

Searching for Secrets

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